For the past two Sundays, I’ve talked about the three things that have the power to change your life.
You’ve made your resolutions. (Have you failed to stick to them, already?) It doesn’t matter. The Chinese New Year is coming up. You can renew your resolutions.
These three powers need to align for your breakthrough.
The common denominator of 2016 and 2017 is you. Isn’t it crazy to think you’re the one in control? But you are. Did God put man on Earth to be pushed around by the forces that may be? No, God put man on earth to have dominion over it.
We’ve fallen from grace. We’re separated from God. Surely, we can blame all our misfortune, all our inertia, on Adam and Eve. How can we help it? We surrendered our dominion to the Serpent when they ate the forbidden fruit. How can we have any sort of power?
But we’re not separated from God.
We are as far from Him or as near to Him as we choose to be.
There are two interesting things about Luke 15:4. The first is obvious. We can’t bear fruit apart from God. Jesus goes on in verse 6 to say that a person who does not dwell in Him is “like a broken-off branch, and withers”. These dead branches bear no fruit; they are fed in to the fire.
The second point: dwelling in God is our choice.
Jesus states that we are already “cleansed and pruned” because of His word (verse 3). This leaves no doubt that He is addressing the ones who already believe in Him. Bearing fruit, however, is another matter. And it is a decision we make by choosing to be grafted on to the true vine, Christ.
We, as humans, are not too different from Adam and Eve. They made the choice to be independent of God. The serpent promised Eve that by disobeying God, she would be like God. And she chose to be like God.
Every time we disobey God, we are as Eve, trying to be like God. We become like branches hacking ourselves away from the vine.
So, why do we still have that choice? How is it that we can choose to dwell in God and have Him dwell in us?
The answer is love.
The gospel has always been about God’s love. For God so loved the world (us) that He gave His only Son to die on the cross for us! That whoever believes in Him will not perish (die) but have everlasting life! (See John 3:16)
Love bridges the gap sin created.
As soon as Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit, they saw they were naked and were ashamed. Sin had come into their lives. They sewed fig leaves together in an attempt to hide their nakedness.
Maybe they knew that sin deserves punishment. They hadn’t read Romans 6:23 yet – “the wages of sin is death” – but they hid from God.
God found them and passed His judgment. Adam and Eve were exiled and the curse of sin was upon them.
That’s not the end of the story, though.
God, in His love, as He was forced to turn them away from the Garden of Eden, made them clothes to cover their shame. He covered their sin.
God doesn’t have to do that. He’s God.
But He loves them.
God didn’t have to send His Son. He’s God.
But He loves us.
He placed man in the garden that He may fellowship with man. That man may hear his voice. That man may respond to the good things He had created in His love for man.
Because He loves us.
How will you make this choice? God loves you. You are the person involved here and your choices determine your actions. Your actions determine your destination.
Will you respond to God’s love? Will you love Him and choose to live in Him?